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The defunding of Local Authorities and increased centralisation and government control

(30 Posts)
GGumteenth Tue 09-Jun-20 08:54:26

This has been the Conservative policy through each of their recent and consecutive governments.

Do you think it has worked?
Has it help us during the pandemic?
Were you aware that was their intention and that was what they were doing?
Is this what you voted for, i.e., when you vote Conservative?

Iam64 Tue 09-Jun-20 09:18:46

GG - I didn't vote Conservative, never have, never will so does that mean I can't contribute.
Yes I did know this has been Conservative policy. No I don't believe its successful.
No it hasn't helped us during the pandemic.
I'm in Greater Manchester. I voted against us having a Mayor but when it was imposed, voted for our Mayor, Andy Burnham.
He's been a breath of fresh air for our region. He is active, visible, totally focussed on what we need. He is asking for the regions to be given power/responsibility to make decisions on the pandemic. Our R rate is increasing, its higher than it is in the south east, so Andy Burnham, rightly, is questioning whether our schools should open, the lockdown be eased.
Yes -I believe we should have more control devolved to the regions. Those of us in what is referred to as "the north" are disadvantaged in so many ways.

Pantglas2 Tue 09-Jun-20 09:20:04

Do you have a link for this so I can read up on it GGUMTEENTH? And does that only apply in England as here in Wales we’re under Labour and have been since devolution.

Ilovecheese Tue 09-Jun-20 10:51:44

Like you, Iam64 I voted against having a Mayor, but agree that Any Burnam has been very good at speaking up for our region.
The track and trace system should have been given into the hands of the local authorities to be organised and implemented locally but has instead been given to private companies like Serco who do not have a good record for value or efficiency, a policy to continue outsourcing and so continue the sidelining of Local Government but also the fragmentation and privatisation of the NHS.

GGumteenth Tue 09-Jun-20 10:57:37

I didn't vote Conservative, never have, never will so does that mean I can't contribute.

Not at all Iam. I was trying not sound anti-Conservative as I am really interested in how the Conservative voter feels about our disappearing Local Authorities. I have a feeling I may have failed in both that and in irritating those in your position. Apologies if I have.

GGumteenth Tue 09-Jun-20 11:01:26

Plantglas, I doubt one link would do it. It has been Conservative policy for at least a decade. You may have seen the cuts to local authorities in your area - or perhaps it hasn't affected you. The views from both those positions are interesting. If you are a Conservative voter it is more likely that you will know where to find their policy on LAs.

GGumteenth Tue 09-Jun-20 11:08:24

You have done well with Andy Burnham. Earlier in the year I moved three miles down the road, out of North Yorkshire and into West Yorkshire. I think West Yorkshire are getting a Mayor but have a feeling that doesn't include North Yorkshire but I only caught that in passing so not absolutely sure. The West Midlands guy seems to be doing quite well too although, again, I know nothing in depth about him, more about carpets and curtains, bathrooms and kitchens at the moment smile

Pantglas2 Tue 09-Jun-20 11:12:49

I suspect things are different in Wales GGUMTEENTH as we are mostly funded through Cardiff - you’ll note I said different, not better.....

growstuff Tue 09-Jun-20 11:22:29

The biggest cuts have been to social care and I expect many people have themselves or have elderly relatives who have been affected.

Local authorities with the greatest needs (mainly Labour held) have had the biggest cuts.

growstuff Tue 09-Jun-20 11:26:29

Pantglas English authorities are mainly funded by central government too, except there's a formula which collects money in the form of council tax and then redistributes via grants.

The grants have been cut, which means that local authorities haven't had the money to pay for services.

Changes to the NHS decimated local public health, which is what is needed now for testing and tracing.

Jane10 Tue 09-Jun-20 11:27:43

It's what's been going on in Scotland and really doesn't work. Local authorities are really struggling. The cash from Westminster to support LAs (£155 million) still hasn't been distributed to them. angry

Fennel Tue 09-Jun-20 11:55:03

I envy you Iam having Andy Burnham as Mayor - seems he was made for the job. He was ok as Minister for health under Gordon Brown but more at home now.
There was a time in the late 90s when regional mayors were suggested and we could have had one on Tyneside but for some reason it never happened. What a shame as this area has many problems due to cuts in funding by the tories.
I was out in Newcastle once in those days and there was a TV crew around to hear people's views and they stopped me. But I was too selfconscious so they moved on.

growstuff Tue 09-Jun-20 12:02:13

Well! Goodness me! Guess who masterminded the vote to have a North East regional mayor!

growstuff Tue 09-Jun-20 12:02:56

Correction ... against having a regional mayor.

janeainsworth Tue 09-Jun-20 12:17:10

we could have had one on Tyneside but for some reason it never happened

We do have a mayor, for Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. He was voted into office last year.
You’ve probably never heard of him because he does b*gger all.

When the idea of having a combined authority to include the LA’s south of the Tyne, they all decided not to join in.

janeainsworth Tue 09-Jun-20 12:17:42

Sorry that last message was replying to Fennel.

janeainsworth Tue 09-Jun-20 12:25:44

Growstuff I’m in no way defending DC but in fact John Orescott’s idea wasn’t for a mayor, it was for a regional devolved assembly which would have gone right from Berwick on the Scottish border, down to Middlesbrough on the Tees.
John Prescott has gravely underestimated the tribalism that exists up here.

People in Teesside didn’t want to be lumped in with the inhabitants of Durham or Newcastle and vice-versa. And Sunderland has its own unique identity. wink

Fennel Tue 09-Jun-20 12:26:03

I didn't realise that jane - ie election of Driscoll. We left the area in 2000 and returned 2 years ago.
@ growstuff - I'm gobsmacked! DC obviously has a fear of an uprising of the 'workers'. And it could have affected his family estate in N Co Durham.

growstuff Tue 09-Jun-20 12:45:14

I know. The tribalism always amazes me.

growstuff Tue 09-Jun-20 12:45:57

Fennel I think he's just a nihilist who enjoys winning games.

MaizieD Tue 09-Jun-20 14:09:16

I'm afraid that I voted against devolution for the NE. Not because of any 'No' campaign; I don't remember there being much of a 'No' campaign in Durham. I can't remember exactly why I voted No now. I think it was because we didn't seem to be offered very much and it added in another layer of government (we had an LA and District Authorities then, we don't now). I think I regret it now.. sad

To answer GGumpteenth's OP. We've seen Local government being eroded ever since the Thatcher era without much protest. I don't think people realised just how much was done by the local authorities and how much centralisation and centrally imposed budget cuts affected their work.

I also think that, as we tended to have so many Labour controlled councils, Labour got a lot of the blame for 'poor' services when in fact they were struggling with restricted budgets.

I've no doubt that people will leap in to tell me how wasteful their Labour councils were, but I'm not sure they would have been any better under the control of any other party.

SueDonim Tue 09-Jun-20 15:10:54

The same has happened in Scotland, under the SNP, which most definitely isn’t Conservative!

So much authority and funding has been taken away from LA’s and given to the Central Belt. I live in NE Scotland and we’ve lost so much control over emergency services and health services. My area has the lowest CT block grant from Holyrood and the lowest funding for schools.

growstuff Tue 09-Jun-20 15:39:29

In England, I don't think it's so much that money has been taken away from one area and given to another, but all local authorities have lost money - some have lost more than others.

I don't know how it works in Scotland, but England money from council tax is paid into a national "pot" then redistributed according to a formula based on need.

I live in quite a wealthy authority and, historically, we've paid much more into the pot than we ever received. However, we now pay less proportionately, but still the grant has been cut. Poorer authorities have experienced a double whammy because they still pay more or less the same, but receive less. In this area, it's been an encouragement to build more houses because we receive grants for new builds (but no extra infrastructure).

Jane10 Tue 09-Jun-20 16:22:57

We're in the central belt in Scotland and our councils are really struggling too. Too much centralisation doesn't work!

GGumteenth Tue 09-Jun-20 22:12:51

It's interesting to think what these cuts to LA's have done.

We cannot open all our schools as they are often older overcrowded buildings with little outdoor space. In many of the countries where they have been able to move further with the this the schools are more modern with plenty of outdoor space.

We have had a centralised track and trace system. Not only is this because it is the nature of the governing party to centralise and privatise, but you would have to ask whether the local public health departments have the wherewithal to meet the needs if it were local - again as we have seen in many other countries.

And really I have no need to talk about our child protection services which have been understaffed for years or our Care Service which has been fragmented and underfunded for years.

All the poor preparedness because of the doctrine of the Conservatives has been the "horse shoe nail" for the UK.

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

Benjamin Franklin reminded us of this poem in The Way to Wealth way back in 1758 and I would have thought the natural, day to day conservatism in most people would have had it's meaning at the heart of what they do - but it seems the Conservative Party has long forgotten the pennies spent on preparation save pounds and, more recently, lives.